This is my version of a great science activity. Students work in teams of two or more to describe an object in front of them that was built from common classroom materials. Using words only, they must explain to their partner how to recreate the object only they will see. On the other side of the room, or in a different space, their partners are doing the same with a different object.
Once the instructions are complete, partners switch directions. Then, following the directions, and with the materials needed, students try to recreate what their partners were looking at.
Explain to the students that they are not allowed to use symbols or draw diagrams. One way to enforce this is to have students complete their direction on a computer.
This activity could be done at home with the students looking at photographs of the object. Students can receive their instructions and use them to build their object for homework, bringing them in the next day. You may or may not want to send home the materials with each student. It could be done with different classrooms or grades working together.
I have included some reflection questions for after the activity is done.
This activity is also a great multi-disciplinary activity that could incorporate English teachers or even foreign language teachers (if the objects being described were kept appropriately simple).